1 Jun

When water comes to life

Bringing water and life to the Turkana people at Nakururum and Lokwamur in Kenya. #WorldWaterDay Photo: ALWS / H. Wikstrom
Bringing water and life to the Turkana people at Nakururum and Lokwamur in Kenya. #WorldWaterDay Photo: ALWS / H. Wikstrom

Australian Lutheran World Service Community Action Manager Jonathan Krause reflects on the importance of providing clean water

Here in Australia, we know how to “do” weather. Our northern parts sometimes receive a year’s rainfall in a couple hours, while those down south can forget what rain looks like some years.

Perhaps it’s because we are a land of “drought and flooding rain”, and understand what “weather” can do to people’s lives, that the Lutheran family is so generous in providing clean water to communities in places like Nakururum in Kenya’s Turkana region.

Across the world, every 60 seconds three children die from the impact of dirty water.

In places like Turkana, the lack of clean, safe water can be life-threatening. In fact, across the world, every 60 seconds three children die from the impact of dirty water. Dirty water can cause diarrhoea, which causes dehydration. Other diseases like cholera, dysentery and guinea worm are carried in dirty water.

When people are subsistence farmers, and crops don’t grow due to drought or flood, families have no food. Children become malnourished and there is no income to get medical care. So you can understand why there was such a celebration when the new Lutheran-supplied water tank opened at Nakururum. A tank like this can support more than 2000 people and 7500 livestock, for an investment of $9505.

Children no longer get sick from diseases caused by dirty water. Women and girls no longer have to walk many hours through dangerous bush to collect water, before carrying it home on their heads. Girls now have the time and energy to go to school, and women are able to start businesses. A reliable supply of water means vegetable crops can thrive, providing healthy food and extra family income when surplus vegetables are sold.

The water tank you see in the photo is part of a coordinated water project in the Turkana region of Kenya, where through ALWS and Lutheran World Federation we have provide 34 boreholes. Each can support around 200 people – meaning as a Lutheran family we help bring clean water to around 70,00 people in Turkana alone! The average cost per borehole is $3035.

The local community collected sand, gravel and rocks to build the tank, as well as electing a committee to manage the infrastructure. This helps ensure local people feel ownership and take care of the resource our Lutheran family provides.

This Turkana water project links to our Lutheran-supported work at Kakuma Refugee Camp, because the Turkana people are the “host community” or traditional owners of the land on which Kakuma is built. Supporting the local community helps reduce tensions caused by having 200,000 refugees living on tough land that already struggles to support people.

So, whether your weather is drought or flooding rain, you can celebrate with the people of Nakururum … and thousands more people in countries including South Sudan, Cambodia and Nepal … who have lifesaving clean water because of the kindness of the Lutheran family bringing love – and water – to life!

Jonathan Krause of ALWS trying out the water pump system which provides water to the residents of Turkana West ub-County in Nawontos. Video by LWF Kenya-Djibouti

 

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This blog post originally appeared in the 2018 May edition of the Lutheran, the national magazine of the Lutheran Church of Australia.


Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is the overseas aid and resettlement agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia. It operates under a constitution approved by the General Synod of the LCA, and is consistent with the objects of the LCA Constitution. Our mission is to reach out in love … for justice.

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.